March 2, 2021

Bill Fairbanks’ long, long walk across the USA

By John Guy LaPlante

Morro Bay, CA — Five years ago I was still living here six months a year over what I call our winter months and in Connecticut six months over the summer months there.

It was time to go home again. I still had my one-person camper van. If I drove 300 miles on the big Interstates, I’d get home in 11 days. Nice and easy.

Bill and Carole show their route from California to Massachusetts. He walked for a grand total of 4887 days! She was his 4-wheel escort and daily rooter.

But I drove the slow roads on which you see so much more, and so much of it is so interesting. Many a time I stopped here and there for two or three days. You know, to see this wonderful thing and that wonderful thing.

So that’s why  I was on the road for s 101 days and drove 5,300 miles. I’ve taken many long and varied road trips. I’ve loved every one. But this was the best. A real adventure.

Well, I just met Bill Fairbanks. He’s William L. Fairbanks II, a retired Ph.D. anthropology professor residing in nearby little Los Osos.

He crossed the country, too. But he walked it! In his 70’s! And it took him six years to do it. I whistled when I heard that. Plus his wife Carole accompanied him all the way. When I heard that, I whistled double loud.

He’s 81. He’s a big guy, 6 foot 2, hefty and fit and doesn’t give the impression of having held down a desk job during his working years. He is outgoing, likes to talk, enjoys being with people — just what it takes for anyone who is going to be a teacher.

He was born in San Francisco. His dad was a PBX expert for AT&T. And he founded and was first president of a credit union for its employees. Bill was a little kid when his dad resigned and took his family back to the farm Bill’s mother had been reared on.

“Dad loved farming. I grew up on the farm. As a farm boy I walked and walked. Every day my brother and I would walk two miles to school, then back. I enjoyed walking. Always have. Still do.  It’s a natural for me.”

He and Carole met in high school. ”She wowed me. Such a cute girl and very smart. Plus her wonderful sense of adventure!”

They got married while students at what is now San Jose State University, where they earned their bachelor’s and Bill went on for a master’s.

“We planned to be high school teachers and did that. She became a home economics teacher. I taught history and geography.

“I got hired at Cuesta Community College. It was just its second year. It offered a two-year curriculum. Some graduates went on to four-year colleges, some went to work. While teaching at Cuesta I went and got my Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara.”

“I taught sociology and anthropology. Most of my students went on to further study. They learned from me and it’s surprising how much I learned from them. I truly mean that. I put in 41 years at Cuesta and loved it. I also taught occasionally at Cal Poly University here. Enjoyed that, too.”

Bill became active in anthropology circles, and over the years served on committees and boards and became president of both the Southwest Anthropological Association and California Mission Studies Association.

He’s a family man. They have a son and two daughters all living within 11 miles with frequent get-togethers, and three grandchildren. For 40 years he and Carole have been members of the Los Osos Methodist Church.

How did he develop the idea of walking across the country?

“Well, as you know, I love to walk. And as you know, rites of passage in life involve challenges. But retirement provides no traditional challenge. Some of my great-grandparents crossed the nation in the 1840s and 1850s. That inspired me. I decided to give it a try. That became my challenge.”

Yes, he planned to walk all the way to the Atlantic.  Maybe to Washington D.C., maybe to New York, specifically Wall Street.. But as his target destination he settled on the small city of Dedham, Massachusetts. Why?

“The Fairbanks Family House is there. It was built in 1636, mind you. It would be exciting to walk in the very door one of my ancestors walked out of several centuries ago.”

It’s interesting that all Fairbanks in the U.S. can call Dedham their ancestral home.

Just like me, on the way he wanted to enjoy the astounding variety of sights and scenes of our great big USA.

“But in all this I had a special focus,” he told me. “Anthropology is my field, yes. But cultural anthropology has been my specialty.”

I asked him to tell me about that. He said that anthropology is the study of man, which wasn’t news to me.

But cultural anthropology, he explained, studies how we organize ourselves in so many ways to live our lives. In governmental bodies and political parties- and churches and corporations and societies and clubs on and on. Large and small and good and not-so-good. And that has all kinds of consequences, positive and sometimes less so.

So in effect, for him our country as he walked it step by step became a huge and wonderful laboratory, so to speak,  just as he knew it would.

Now why Dedham? Well, a good reason. There’s an old, old house there that all people named Fairbanks in the US can call their ancestral home.

Today the Fairbanks House, as it’s called, is a museum and rightfully so. In fact it is considered the oldest frame house in the country.  Even furnished with period antiques.  It’s operated by the National Fairbanks Family Association of America.

“So it’s easy to see why Dedham would be perfect as my final destination. We became excited about it.”

In fact, it’s from there way back in the 1840s and 1850s that his great-grandfathers on both sides of his family crossed the country to  California to start a good new life.

Well, as you know now, he made it, covering 5,605 miles at an average pace of 11.53 miles a day. Of course, on some days he took far more footsteps than on others. For one thing, weather could be a big factor.

Typically he’d start from February on to May and return home in November.  He had other obligations at home he had to keep in mind.

This is how he and Carole worked it. They would set the destination for the day and the quitting time. He’d start walking. He carried a small backpack. Carole would drive ahead to their motel for the night. She would sightsee, shop, return to the motel to read or quilt. She loves to quilt. She’d always hope to locate a quilt store.

They’d eat in interesting restaurants and coffee shops. And would try to get to as many museums, historic sites, and unique shops as possible. Which was exactly my goal when I drove home to Connecticut.

If he ran into a problem, he’d call her and she’d come pick him up, but that was rare.

They started out on July 2, 2009, and finished on August 20, 2014. He was 72. She was 69. When they finally got to the Fairbanks House, he was 77 and she was 74. That certainly was a record.

Look at their route and you’ll see that it cut across our country’s mid-level right to the East Coast at Virginia. Then it took a 90-degree turn north and went way up to Vermont, then turned down toward Boston and finally Dedham.

The hardest part was making it through California, right at the beginning. It took time to work out the kinks. Calluses on his feet!  After walking 22 miles over the Santa Lucia Mountains he had to take two week off to recover from blisters. But that didn’t daunt him.

The first year they made it to Carson City. The second year from Carson City to Oberlin, Kansas. The third from Oberlin to Cane Ridge, Kentucky. The fourth from Cane Ridge to Richmond, Virginia. The fifth from Richmond to Catskill, New York. And the sixth from there to Boston and finally Dedham. Hallelujah!

“But bad luck. it turned out to be one year more than we planned. In 2012, while at home for the holiday season, I fell through a wood deck. I was bare-footed. Gashed my right foot. It required surgery and I had to stay put for weeks. But I just couldn’t wait to get going again. So it was late, in August, when we got started.

“But one result is that it took us an extra year to finish.”

He  chuckled. “I wore out eight pairs of shoes!  I don’t remember how many dogs barked at me.  It was amazing how many folks would hand me a bottle of water. Lots of good people out there!

“And got to tell you I walked through some rough neighborhoods. But never ran into a bad person. Not anywhere!””

As an anthropologist did he learn something new?

“Indeed I did. I had a lot of time to think. And reflect.

“There’s a lot of fear out there. People are worried. You can see it. Bars on windows of houses. Locked cars. Gated communities. On and on.

“Oh, one more thing. I should tell you I ran into a lot of Afro-American neighborhoods.” He uses that because it conforms to other ethnic groups, such as Italian-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and so on.

He got to talk to some, mostly middle-aged and older. Enjoyed their chats.

“I found Americans very nice people. Invariably they’d tell me to be careful. Would say, ‘Watch out for gang bangers!’ Or ‘Take care!’ Or ‘I’ll pray for you!’ Nice things like that. It impressed me.”

On the road he was cautious. One example. He walked not with the flow of traffic but against it. “I wanted to see what was coming.”

Now talking about myself for a moment, On my long ride across the country in my camping van, I had used the best-selling AAA atlas. Excellent atlas. But Bill used one I never heard of, “The DeLorme Atlas.”  He showed it to me and right away I understood why. It had all the usual good info plus a great big plus – all the geographical elevations and in fine detail! Every up and down just about.

“On the road Carole and I would study it every morning. We would choose the easiest route to walk that day. And there could be terrific differences depending on the time of day.”

Think of this. In Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, his path took him way up to 12,183 feet. That’s more than two miles up. And then down.  Now remember his age.  It made me wonder. Did he ever think of quitting and returning home for keeps?

“No, no. When I walked 12 miles on my very first day, I knew I could do it.”

A real challenge, he said, was getting across some rivers. Many bridges, major ones such as across the Mississippi, or the Missouri, or the Ohio, do not permit pedestrians.

“I crossed the Mississippi on the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge. It’s on I-72 at Hannibal, Missouri.’

“A sign said bicyclists could use it, and pedestrians have the same rights, but walking facing the traffic instead of going with traffic. Which was my practice, as you know.”

Hannibal is where Mark Twain grew up. Where he got the ideas for “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn.”

In all those miles he didn’t have a single accident, which I found remarkable.

Along the way several times he got checked out by police. “I’d tell them what I was up to and they’d wish me good luck.”

Several times he got written up in local papers. One time he got interviewed by TV Station WVVA in Lewisburg, West Virginia. People told him they had seen it.

I was surprised that time and again he had a walking companion. A high school classmate. Or a former student. Or a cousin. For a day or two or even longer.

His final day after six years was from Boston down to Dedham. Exactly 9.42 miles.

He knew a delegation of Fairbanks members would be waiting for him and Carole at the Fairbanks Museum. Walking with him would be his son Bill from San Luis Obispo, the city next door to his home in  the Morro Bay Area. And Kathy Butterfield, one of his son’s high school classmates living in the Boston Area. And Tom Potter, another of Bill’s classmates, who flew in from Los Angeles.

They had 10 miles to go. Bill expected it would take about five hours.

Bill chuckled. “Wrong. Very slow getting out of Boston. Took seven hours! But the folks at the Fairbanks House were still there, which was wonderful.”

It was a beautiful day. “We were worried about that. Carole got there ahead of him, of course. And she made sure to have everything for a nice party, including a sit-down celebration repast. It turned out a celebration not to be forgotten.”

Remember, he had walked 5,606 miles! How many zillion footsteps would that be? He told me he finished in better health than when he took the first step. How wonderful.

Bill took hundreds of photos. “I wish I had taken more. They keep the memories alive.” They’re still enjoying the glow of it all.

He wrote daily updates and emailed them to people who requested them. The updates became his  daily journal of the adventure.

No wonder he’s being invited to give talks at churches and clubs. He always says yes. In fact, it’s at our Senior Club here in Morro Bay that I became aware of him. It turned out to be a full house and some had to be turned down at the door. How about that?!

And he’s writing a book. An excellent idea, I believe. The tentative title is “Across the USA one step at a time. By a septuagenerian walker.” I’m eager to see it.

And he is still walking, would you believe?

Well, I thought I had an adventure driving across the USA in 101 days. Indeed I did. But Bill’s turned out to be a super-duper adventure.

~ ~ ~ ~











Who’s seen a Greyhound bus lately?


By John Guy LaPlante

I haven’t. They seem a disappearing species.Like the dodo.  Sad.

I checked.  Greyhound—now more than a hundred years old—is still in business. A decade ago, it had some 3,500 buses on the road.  Now, it’s down to less than half that. Corporations are like you and me.  There are up’s and down’s. Good things happen. Bad things, too.

Why am I telling you about this? I rode Greyhound a lot. I loved Greyhound.  Many trips, including several clear across the count from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back. Many thousands of miles. “Leave the driving to us!” Greyhound says.  We’ve all heard that slogan of Greyhound’s.

This beaut was the model that I usually rode. One of Greyhound's biggest innovations over the years was a nice, clean onboard toilet.What a differernce that made.
This beaut was the model that I usually rode. One of Greyhound’s biggest innovations over the years was a nice, clean onboard toilet.What a much appreciated difference that made.

Often I did leave the driving to Greyhound.

My first cross-country on it was in 1995, I believe.  Greyhound offered a sensational transcontinental ride for $99. I bought a ticket thinking of the grand adventure it would be.  And I loved the price.

Plus I had a reason that made that bargain irresistible. My son Mark was studying at the University of Washington in Seattle.  I missed him.

I hopped on a big, shiny Greyhound at the New York Port Authority terminal in Manhattan.  And it was three days to Seattle…day and night plus a few  hours more. In a way it was like the old Pony Express  mail service from St. Louis all the way to California. It was the same rider all the way.The rider would change horses after every so many miles. Ad keep going and going.

I said in a way.  On Greyhound, it was the same bus all the way, but with a different driver taking the wheel after every shift.

The hard part was the nights.  Trying to sleep was a nightmare.

Once, I rode Greyhound across most of Canada from Vancouver in British Columbia on through Alberta, then Saskatchewan, then Manitoba and Ontario, right across to Montreal In Quebec.

By the way,  those Canadian Greyhounds towed a beautifully matching trailer loaded with parcels. A trailer with the same paint job and same doggie logo!

Another time  I rode Greyhound deep down into Mexico right to huge Mexico City. Actually it was a Mexican bus line that partnered with Greyhound.  A great ride. I even rode a Greyhound, yes, a Greyhound on a visit to South Africa. Greyhound also operate in Australia, well, it did back then it did.  I never made it to Australia.

On all these trips, passengers kept getting on and off. Just a few would do the whole long distance.  By that time, we recognized each other and felt a special bond. We’d say “Good luck!”  to one another and “Take care!” Even if speaking to somebody who didn’t understand English. They got the gist of it.

Sure, there were bad moments.  Once Greyhound took off and left me behind!  Stranded! We stopped in a small town in Oregon, 20 minutes for a coffee and toilet brake. I had been sitting behind the driver. The seat next to me was empty. I left my jacket and a handbag on it. Across from me were two elderly ladies.   We had chatted a few minutes.

[Read more…]

My first week on my long ride home to Connecticut

My first overnight at a Walmart's, in Claremont, CA. That's "Chateau," my 13-year-old, 180,000-mile blue and siver beauty. What's wonderful is that nobody has a clue she's a little camper, with me happily snoring inside!
My first overnight at a Walmart’s, in Claremont, CA. That’s “Chateau,” my 13-year-old, 180,000-mile blue and siver beauty. What’s wonderful is that nobody has a clue she’s a little camper, with me happily snoring inside!

Blythe, Arizona – Here I was, approaching this tiny town. Blythe is as far east in California as can be. It was Day 5 of my solo transcontinental ride home to Connectiuct.The sun was setting on one of my finest days so far as I approached Blythe on I-10—my destination for this day. I saw it coming up. It’s what I call a ”one-story town.” I didn’t spot one building any higher than that.

I kept right on at 60 miles an hour with all the other traffic, waiting for the main exit to Blythe to announce itself. Surprise! I found myself suddenly crossing the Colorado River—which is a modest stream here—and confronting a big sign, “Welcome To Arizona!” What?!

I had overshot Blythe. That’s how small it is.

It was another mistake, plain and simple. Mistakes, errrors, call them whatever you like, are inevitable in the kind of travel I’m doing. I experience them every day. I don’t go nuts over them any more. The only solution is to “Grin and Bear It!” Plus, “Maybe something good will come of this!”

Oh, I know what you smarties are thinking. “John, if you had GPS, this would never have happened.”

Well, I do have it. Brand-new, too. A Gamin Novi 401. Finally I got it hooked up and going. But it’s not calibrated right. That anonymous tenor persists in giving me one wrong direction after another. I’ve unhooked the darn thing. I’m hoping to run into a geek soon who will get it going right for me.

Besides, for these many decades of doing nutty trips like this, I’ve done fine with my trusty road atlas. This mistake was all Blythe’s fault! They should have a big sign up at the exit, “Stop! This Is Blythe!”

My intention was to “camp” in Blythe for the night. My definition of “camping” in my old age is sleeping in my van and eating most of my meals in it.

One reason I chose Blythe is there’s a 24-hour Walmart here. I’ve camped at a Walmart every night on this trip so far. It’s perfect.

This way, I don’t have to drive miles out of my way to find a campground, then drive miles back in the morning. Walmart is safe! And so convenient. Its 24-hour superstores—that’s what they usually are–offer everything I can possibly spend money on except gas. Plus clean bathrooms! And Walmart is free! And welcoming!

I wish they had been around on all those big past trips I’ve taken. And the many trips I took my wife and kids on.

I’ll be delighted if I can find a Walmart every single night on my 3,500-mile route home. We now have 3,000 Walmart supercenters in the U.S., which never close. I stand a pretty good chance.

~ ~ ~

As usual this trip isn’t a picnic. It’s hard work. I didn’t expect it to be easy. It never is. It keeps me busy from early morn till 10 or 11 p.m. With naps as needed, I admit. You’d be surprised at everything that’s required to do it right.

So far my ride is as good as I hoped it would be. I love the challenge of it. And I enjoy its many rewards. One is running into interesting folks. So far. I’ve struck it lucky again. and this is one of my major goals. And not a bad apple yet.

Another is to see—really, really see, with my own eyes—how our country is doing and changing. And experiencing the sights, natural and manmande, at times beautiful and inspiring, at times ugly and regrettable, and too often very dull and skip-able.

Important to remind you I’m driving an 11-year-old van with more than 180.000 miles on it. Yes, that’s right, 180,000 plus.. She’s running like a top. I feel it’s just broken in. Honest! Maybe I’m setting myself up for a gigantic disappointment. But it couldn’t be sweeter running. I’m delighted.

It’s a Ford 7-passenger Econoline van. The model name is Chateau, which is—maybe was–Ford’s top of the line in vans. It’s loaded with amenities, some I love. The tinted windows (people can’t see in). The comforble seats. The electric this and that. Other features, too.

My first little camper years ago—a VW “bus”— was Dandelion. That’s what I dubbed her. She was that color of beautiful yellow. Notice, I said “she.” After all, if we can give our boats feminine monickers, why can’t I do it for my lovely camper?

I deliberated and finally setttled on Chateau as the name for this one. It’s so appropriate. This really is a wonderful and lovely little chateau, on four wheels, of course. So from now on Chateau is “she,” too. My poetic license! You’ll get used to it fast.

She does have a few bugs. The worst is the obstacle course I face to get from my driver’s seat to the back. You have to be as agile as a monkey, but I’m no monkey. And there’s no way to fix that.

The next is that I can’t stand in her. I may get home permanently hunched over. It’s made me think of the advantages of being a midget.

She has six ceiling lights. I think if I go over a bump, they all go on. Sometimes even when I’m stopped for a while.On my second day I had a dead battery. Not a promising start. But I have a AAA Classic membership—they’ll tow me up to 100 miles. A tech guy showed up in 35 minutes, gave me a jump, and pointed out the troublesome lights. Still they go on. I’m thinking of duck-taping them OFF.

I’m allowed only four road calls a year, and my year is just starting. On my next night at Walmart I bought jumper cables. Cheap insurance.

I have two keys to Chateau. They look identical. One works much better than the other. The bad one will not open the doors every time. Makes me very nervous. I’m afraid of locking the good key inside, and what then? Methinks I need see a locksmith.

It takes a mighty flick of my wrist with the ignition key to start the engine. Sometimes I have to flick hard twice, even three times. If this keeps up, I’ll be buying a brace for my wrist soon. Walmart stocks those, too.

I told you in my previous report she has a fancy, super-sophisticated entertainment system. Even a TV screen in the ceiling in back to watch DVDs. The system included GPS, too. But I discovered it was dead and the dealer that sold me Chateau, FamVans, gave me that portable Gain Navi instrument.

Well, now I find that the CD player is broke, too. So now I can’t enjoy the dozen music CDs I brought along. Got to do something about this, too.

The radio is fine. But it’s a pain to search and search and not find a station I really enjoy. Silence is golden.

Turns our that Chateau’s tires are oversize. If I try a tight turn left or right, the front tires rub on the body. Not good! So tight turns are impossible. Sometimes I can turn around 180 degrees only with two or three tries. You wouldn’t like that, either.

She gulps gasoline like a monster. California is a $4-a-gallon gas state. Maybe a few cents over, a few cents under here or there. At one stop high in the San Gabriel Mountains on Day 2, $4.14! I find that very painful.

I’m stopping for refills whenever I need $40 worth or so. That happens more often than I thought it would. Why stop so often? I like frequent breaks. And I try to work in as much exercise as I can. It’s a big step up into Chateau, and a big step down.

Besides, If I bought a maximum fill, the tab would be well over $100, and that makes me shudder. Just consider, I remember a gas war when the price dropped to 17.9 cents a gallon! I’d like a price war like that at least once a week Sob!. Such price wars are history. How come?

But I’m delighted with the many changes and improvements I made to convert her into a mini camper. My bunk with the foam mattress. The clothes hooks I screwed in. The drawers and shelves I put in. How I planned the whole interior lay-out. The whole list of little things I’ve done. Chateau is tiny, but wonderfully efficient and comfy.

I’m still making changes every day. One little improvement after another. I call them my Robinsoe Crusoe moments. Remember how shipwrecked Robinson used his wits to solve all kinds of problems and make his shipwreck life easier? Well, that’s me in Chateau. Each Robinsoe Crusoe moment, as simple as it is, gives me a glow of pleasure.

~ ~ ~

Here are some of the highlights of my trip so far. I’ll sketch them out briefly. I found them so interesting that I hope to write them up for you one by one as I go along. Patience, please.

Day 1. A symposium on three “isms” that I attended at Claremont-Lincoln School of Theology in Claremont, CA. The three are Buddhism, Sikkism, and Janism. The Jainism segment was the one that drew me. It’s a strange and impressive religion in India. I am not a Jain, but I’ve had close Jain friends for 30 years and I’ve learned abut it through them.

Day 2. My day resting and exploring Claremont. What a charming and delightful small community. With seven colleges, mind you. To me it’s THE small town to live in.

Day 3. My ride high up into the awesome San Gabriel Moutains for a white-knuckle ride along its famous Rim of the World road. But so exciting, too. A ride I won’t forget soon.

Day 4. My visit to Palm Springs, the man-made oasis out in the desert a couple of hours east of L.A. Palm Springs is a small place but who hasn’t heard of it? So many movie stars have bought fancy second homes there. I’ve been to Palm Springs several times, thanks to Annabelle. I much prefer the newer small communities that have sprung up around Palm Springs.

Day 5. As you know by now, I think, I’m not fond of Interstate Highways. Of course I appreciate their practicality. They’re great to get somehwere fast. But they bypass so many interesting things and they are so dull. I much prefer the far more interesting lesser roads. I’ve been lucky at finding some dandy ones. But I got lost! Three times!

Day 6. How I find myself in tiny Mecca. Strange name for a town here in California. A town with a heavy population of Mexicans. How I’m impressed by them. And the library that serves them and the others in Mecca as well, of course.

Day 7. I knew that the next 100 miles to Blythe would be a tedious and taxing ride. But I managed to find an alternate route and then went and messed it up again. But I got some nice rewards.


As always, I’ve met some interesting people along the way. Including some truly Good Samaritans. How lucky I’ve been. I can’t wait to tell you about some of them.

I’ve wondered whether I’ve become too old to enjoy this kind of travel. I’ve done a lot of it over the years and it’s been so much fun. Well, I have good news. It’s hard. Yes, it is. No denying that. But so far I am rejoicing. It is shaping up as the grand adventure I hoped for.

Long ago I realized that Mark Twain was right. That smart guy is the one who said that often it is better to travel than to arrive. My whole point is not just to get home. It’s to squeeze in as much pleasure out of every mile as I can. And it’s working out that way.

Know what? So far I’ve been on the road seven days and have traveled barely 500 miles. That’s very little–only about one-seventh of the mileage I expect to run up before I roll into Deep River. And the best parts of the route are still ahead.

So I’ve found myself wondering, When the heck will I finally be getting home?! Labor Day? Thanksgiving? Christmas? I leave it all to Serendipity!

~ ~ ~

A Post Script. Just a few days ago I turned 84. Yes, 84. Which means that was  tip-toeing into my 85th year on Earth!!!

You have no idea how surprised I am to have made it this far.

I remember when I was 8 or 9 I wasn’t doing well and my mother had our family doctor come to the house and examine me.

I remember how he finally put his stethoscope back in his black bag and looked at my mom and said, “Madame, I am sad to tell you I don’t think this little boy will live to see his 30th birthday.”

Gosh, did he shake her up! And my father when he came home! As for me, 30 seemed a long, long time away.

Gosh, have I fooled him!

I’m going to be alone on the road for this birthday. Not a problem. I’m just looking forward to another nice day, my eyes filling, I’m sure, with one wonderful sight after another, as always. It won’t be perfect. Nothing ever is. But it will be great.

I don’t need a birthday cake. I’d be embarrassed to try to blow out all those candles. How huge a cake would it take to hold them all?

Besides, I know I’ve got a lot of people cheering for me. How lucky I am! How really lucky!


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